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James E. Brockway (1872-1949)
Born at Clinton Co., MI, and resident of Bay City.

1905 biography. (Added Mar., 2009)

The History of Bay County, Michigan, by Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


James E. Brockway, a popular attorney of Bay City, Michigan, with offices in the Shearer Block, was born on a farm near Brockway, in St. Clair County, Michigan, in 1872. In early boyhood he was taken to Port Huron by his parents, who were pioneer settlers, of German derivation. He was a resolute and ambitious lad and, after enjoying the advantages of the public school at home until he was 13 years old, went forth into the world to earn his own living. He worked at lumber tallying during the summers, and in the winter intervals still pursued his school studies. For several seasons he was thus employed at Au Sable and Oscoda, until he earned a sufficient amount of money to take a course in the Northern Indiana Normal University. Here he applied himself to law and afterward acquired a knowledge of stenography, while clerking in various law offices. He was admitted to the Bay County bar, and became a law partner of Devere Hall. He served four years as Circuit Court commissioner, being elected to that office on the Republican ticket.

In 1897, Mr. Brockway became a member of Company C., of the Peninsulars, and during the Spanish-American war he served as a corporal of that company in Cuba. He was also clerk, by appointment, to Brigadier-General Duffield until that officer succumbed to yellow fever and was sent to the hospital.

During his term of service as Circuit Court commissioner, Mr. Brockway manifested that degree of diligence, discretion and integrity, essential in a position of such responsibility, and won the merited commendation of his fellow citizens. In the fall of 1904 he was elected Representative to the State Legislature on the Republican ticket. He is one of the most earnest advocates of a more comprehensive primary election law, and unless the promise of his early manhood fails of fulfillment, he will yet win recognition in higher fields of endeavor.

Mr. Brockway is a 32nd degree Scotish Rite Mason and a member of Moslem Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Detroit; also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of the Loyal Guard, the National League of Veterans and Sons and Spanish War Veterans.

1905 Reprentative - Added June, 2011.

The Men of 1905, by Harry M. Nimmo.


It is so common as to be almost tiresome, -- this story of the greybeard and his struggle for existence and for the upward move, that we can always lead a keen ear to the man of tenderer years who has a story to tell. Here is a man slightly past 30 who has tallied lumber in the summer and trudged off to school in the winter until he was able to pay his way through college. The he studied law and is now a member of a very live firm in Bay City. In the middle of it all he found time to serve in the Santiago campaign. His latest stunt was to defeat one of the democratic representatives of 1903. An exclusive grand army man who thinks he save the whole process of nature, the rotation of the earth, and the solar system will please note that here is a fair sample of a man who fought the forests in his boyhood, fought his country's enemies when his country needed him, and licked a democratic in 1904. And this man did not see the light until 1872. All honor where honor is due, but let us not forget that there is more than one class of men to be honored today.

There is one incident which has never been told, but which places Rep. Brockway in the roll of honor if nothing else does, --- his vote on the direct nominations bill when the republican platform proposition was defeated in the house. The party managers needed votes very badly. They needed Brockway's, but didn't get it. Brockway could have had most anything he wanted to to vote for the platform bill. He stood pat and was one of the 53 that gave the state direct nomination for governor and lieutenant governor.

Having assured the subscribers to this edition that the truth and nothing but the truth would be told, it behoves the scribe to remark at this stage of what is rapidly becoming an encomium that Brockway must have had some glaring faults, but that he succeeded in hiding them better than any of his colleagues. Some exception, to be sure, must be taken to his face, though he couldn't help that. He is not te best looking man in the legislature but altogether too good looking to be in politics. His expression imposes an unusal burden of integrity on his character. You instinctively believe him. His manner is so youngishly pleasant that it scouts scepticism. Sincerity and truth are apparently his watchwords.

Additional Notes.

    1880 - Census: Brockway, St. Clair, Mich.

  • Brockway, Edward - b. 1846, Mich. - farmer.
  • Pamela, wife - b. 1847, New York.
  • Carrie, dau. - b. 1867 Mich.
  • Hattie, dau. - b. 1869, Mich.
  • Nettie, dau. - b. 1870, Mich.
  • James E., son - b. 1872, Mich.
  • Harry, son - b. 1874, Mich.

    1895 (Sep. 5) - Newspaper Avalanche - Grayling, Crawford, Mich.

  • Than many friends of James BROCKWAY, will be pleased to know that he passed a very satisfacroy examination and was admitted to the bar at Bay City, last week.

    1899 (Oct. 5) - Newspaper Avalanche - Grayling, Crawford, Mich.

  • It is reported that James E. BROCKWAY has been admitted to partnership in the law office of Hon. Devere HALL, Bay City. It is another proof that true merit wins.

    1902-03 - Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Board of Trade - 404 Phoenix Blk., Organized 1898. Selwyn EDDY, Pres.; Benj. BOUTELL, Vice-Pres.; H. E. TREMAIN, Tres.; James E. BROCKWAY, Sec.

    1905 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City.

  • James E. Brockway was witness to marriage of Roy O. Woodruff and Vera M. Hall.
Related Notes & Pages

James E. Brockway

  • 1898: Corporal, Co. C, 33rd MI Volunteers
  • 1900: Census - Bay City: Residing at 607 N. Van Buren, home of Josephine Snitzer.
    Related Pages:
    Hall, Devere
    Woodruff, Roy O.
  • People Referenced
    Boutell, Benjamin
    Brockway, Carrie (sis)
    Brockway, Edward (father)
    Brockway, Harry (bro)
    Brockway, Hattie (sis)
    Brockway, James E. (subject)
    Brockway, Nettie (sis)
    Brockway, Pamelia (mother)
    Duffield, Gen.
    Eddy, Selwyn
    Hall, Devere
    Hall, Vera M.
    Trimain, H.E.
    Woodruff, Roy O.
    Subjects Referenced
    Au Sable, MI
    Avalanche newspaper
    Bay City, MI
    Bay Co., MI
    Bar Co. Bar
    Brockway, MI
    Circuit Court Comm.
    Grayling, MI
    Oscoda, MI
    Peninsulars Org.
    MI Representative
    New York
    Northern Ind. Norm. Univ.
    Port Huron, MI
    St. Clair Co., MI
    Spanish-American War
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.